Guest Videos: Pleistocene Park and De-Extincting the Mammoth

Needs a mammoth.


Needs a sabercat.

Here’s something to think about, though. Mammoths didn’t actually live on the tundra. They had their own habitat, appropriately called the mammoth steppe.

It was an herb-dominated tundra-steppe environment that drew together a unique collection of animals, including many (like lions and pumas) that are still around today but never occupy the same setting (again, like lions and pumas)

There’s no biome like the mammoth steppe now.

Was it the Ice Age or the animals that maintained it? Or both?

Speaking of sabercats, some (Werdelin et al.) speculate that lions might have played a role in their extinction.

But could a lion take down a big hairy elephant (which is basically what mammoths were)?

If not, and if we don’t de-extinct sabercats, which we shouldn’t do for obvious reasons . . .

Land sharks.

. . . then mammoths might overpopulate the world, besides changing it in unexpected ways.

Yep, he was right:

One of the best lessons Hollywood has ever taught us.

Featured image: Mauricio Antón, from Sedgewick, via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 2.5.


Stuart, A. J. 2015. Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions on the continents: a short review. Geological Journal, 50(3): 338-363.

Werdelin, L.; Yamaguchi, N.; Johnson, W. E.; and O’Brien, S. J.. 2010. Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae), in Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids, eds. Macdonald, D. W., and Loveridge, A. J., 59-82. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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